New Senators COO Begins Tenure With Major Challenges Ahead
New Senators COO Nicolas Ruszkowski begins his tenure today and is "stepping into one of the biggest challenges of his professional career," as the team has "reached a stratosphere of negativity that only a handful of organizations in North America have managed to achieve in the past decade," according to Ian Mendes of TSN.ca. There is a "massive, dark cloud hanging over the franchise and it doesn’t feel like there is any sunshine in the forecast for the foreseeable future." The organization's troubles "started with an off-the-record comment" from former Senators RW Daniel Alfredsson, who "allegedly said that he would like to see an ownership change" from Eugene Melnyk. Then, Senators Assistant GM Randy Lee earlier this month "pleaded not guilty to a harassment charge against a 19-year-old shuttle bus driver in Buffalo." Also, the wife of Senators D Erik Karlsson has "filed for an order of protection against the girlfriend" of Senators LW Mike Hoffman. The "saddest part of all of this is that nobody can definitively say that the organization has reached rock bottom" (TSN.ca, 6/13).
NOTHING TO CHEER ABOUT: In Ottawa, Wayne Scanlan writes the Senators are a team "worthy of relegation to a lower league." While their "on-ice performance alone warrants this," their "off-ice antics have left fans bitter and angry." TSN's Ray Ferraro said, “You have got an organization, top to bottom, that is in absolute shambles. They’re the laughing stock of the league. There’s nobody more comical, in a sad way, than Ottawa is now.” Throughout the "lost season" of '17-18, and "more pointedly into the off-season, the Senators have chosen to react to crises, many of them self-inflicted, rather than get out in front of them" (OTTAWACITIZEN.com, 6/14). Also in Ottawa, Ken Warren in a front-page piece writes the Senators' "biggest need is a fire department, a damage control team to restore some trust with its dwindling season ticket base." At what point is the NHL "forced to step in to address the black eye, pushing" Melnyk to "sell the franchise -- or at the very least to bring in a deeper-pocketed partner -- to help with the chaos?" (OTTAWA CITIZEN, 6/14).